Sunday, March 28, 2010

October 11, 2009 Day 2: The Southwest Chief

     Morning came quietly, a soft grey glow. I slept with the drapes open so I could be awakened by the sun. Breakfast is first come, first served, I don’t know what made me think quiche on a train for breakfast was a bright idea. It was like a log and I made a horrible mistake trying out chicken sausages. Is that some sort of culinary joke?
     Nothing can quite describe this train ride better than the tweets I sent out that day:

-Just sitting in La Junta, CO where it is 32F w/frost and ice (914am)

-Train will past Pike's Peak & sangria de Christo mountains. Will climb to 7000ft. Would explain my headache (918am)

-Feet up, train moving, Beatles on the iPod, reading Sunday funnies. Life is good. (930am)

-iPod on shuffle, cosmic smiling, Maroon 5 started playing "Sunday Morning"! awesome (933am)

-I am always amazed, astounded and grateful for the rich & varied beauty of our country. (956am)

-Passing through frost covered arroyos, that look like powdered sugar on my cornflakes. (1008am)

-Headache intensifying, still climbing. Frost is thickening like toasted pop tarts! (1022am)

-Pulling up to Marley, CO ghost town. Train weaving thru mountain passes,slowly,silent as a ghost (1134am)

-The fog is a thick adding to the anticipation of a ghost town (1135am)

-It is seriously eerie, no train whistle, no chugachuga. We glide thru the pass.(1136)

-The only witnesses are the electric poles w/their glass conductors. Silent sentinels (1137am)

-It's a good thing the windows are only emergency exits. Otherwise I'd be pulling a Scooby & hanging my head out. (1153am)

-I would totally spend my time hanging out the window catching bugs in my teeth! (1154am)

-I'm starting to see mountain ranges. Pale half moon hanging in the sky. (130pm)

-Landscape littered with broken cars, empty houses and lost dreams. (132pm)

-We are in Las Vegas, NM (135pm)

-The sky is now a brilliant azure! (212pm)

-We are at 7127ft altitude (254pm)

-I hate it when the train stops, cuz my brain thinks it's still moving & there is that moment of nausea.(313pm)

-We're stopped. My view is of an anthills. Seriously.(316pm)
-I am so bored, I'm actually drinking water.(348pm)

-I can see the twitterverse! In albuquerque. It is sweet, warm and I'm catching the late afternoon sun on the train platform. (509pm)

-Night has dropped over NM as we pull into Gallup. All I see are the pinpricks of street lights dotting the dark mountains. (816pm)

-Next time I take a long train ride, I'm going to time it w/a full moon. All this endless majesty under the silver light of a full moon? (823pm)

-We have just arrived in Flagstaff, AZ. Everything looks so lonesome at night.(1114pm)

There is a reason for everything that happens to us and sometimes we actually get the chance to see it happen. Tonight I understood why I missed my train.
     At dinner, I was treated to a table of 3 different older women. We exchanged where we were going; one said she was going to UCLA for breast cancer treatment. I was stunned; she was open to sharing her story. From what I could tell she was recently diagnosed and she said her doctor had a good prognosis for her recovery. But she was getting conflicting recommendations as to further diagnostic treatment. She told us how at breakfast, her table consisted of two cancer survivors and a widower who had lost his wife to cancer 2yrs ago. The other lady sitting next to her was telling her of a friend she had who had survived breast cancer and seemed buoyed by the news.
     When I first sat down, she had a sort of feverish stare, intense, as if she were committing every little thing she saw to memory. And of all the people I have talked to and whose company I have enjoyed. She was the first and only one so far to ask my name.
     When I first joined Twitter I found someone following me who beat breast cancer not once but twice. I didn't know why she was following me so I did the polite thing and followed her. I mean, you never know right? When I met this woman tonight, I was able to pull out my phone, look up my tweep's info and pass it along. If it helps raise her spirits, inspires her and brings her comfort? Then I was meant to board this train and be a messenger. I believe that we all have the God spark in us; you just got to let it shine. I gave her the website for breast cancer patients, I also gave her my email so, if she liked, she could contact me and I could pass on more info, or whatever. I watched her make a notation of my name and next to it she wrote "writer". I was touched.
     At lunch I also met a French painter traveling to the Grand Canyon so she can be inspire to paint that. Her name is Sophie Moraine, her artwork can be seen at
     Just a quick by the way, the site is in French, I can still it, I practiced my French with them and they said that my French was the best they had heard so far. It's amazing the time I'm having.
     I figured out how to pull the top bunk open because I wanted to see what that looked like. They only pulled out the main bed but during the day they store the mattress up in the top bunk. The top bunk has straps that they highly recommend are attached to the ceiling to keep someone from falling. 
     I felt nothing in my bottom bunk and I slept soundly.

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